Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Courts of Love (1987)

The Courts of Love. Jean Plaidy. 1987. Broadway Books. 576 pages. [Source: Bought]

When I look back over my long and tempestuous life, I can see that much of what happened to me--my triumphs and most of my misfortunes--was due to my passionate relationships with men. I was a woman who considered herself their equal--and in many ways their superior--but it seemed that I depended on them, while seeking to be the dominant partner--an attitude which could hardly be expected to bring about a harmonious existence. 

The Courts of Love is told in first person; it is told exclusively, I believe, through the eyes of Eleanor of Aquitaine.

The Courts of Love has such a different feel from the other Plaidy novels I've read lately. It seems more sophisticated, more tasteful, more literary than the three books in the Norman series. And I must admit that The Courts of Love, which stars Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II, was more interesting than Caroline the Queen. Though in some ways it feels "classier" that does not mean it's not sensual, it just refrains some of the ridiculousness. (Plaidy is NOT graphic in details; she's very matter-of-fact and succinct.)

Eleanor is an interesting narrator. The novel begins with her life in the court of her grandfather, I believe. It follows her life through her marriages; her first marriage to the king of France and her second marriage to Henry II. (He was not king quite yet. The battle between Stephen and Matilda was still ongoing.) Readers also get to see Eleanor in the role of mother. While she did not have a place in her life for her two children with the King of France, she had plenty of children with Henry. It felt like she was ever-pregnant for almost half of the novel! The last third of the novel focuses on King Richard and King John.

Eleanor was definitely not presented as a saint. (I found the bit with her uncle to be quite disturbing.) Henry II was definitely not a saint either. Even before he "unintentionally" suggested that Thomas Becket should be taken care of permanently. Henry II and Eleanor had a strange relationship. There was passion in abundance, but horribly bitter bickering. The two would eventually separate, but not in the way you might expect. She was a prisoner of her husband for over a decade! Henry II, meanwhile, presided at court with his favorite mistresses nearby.

I am glad I read this one! Have you read any Jean Plaidy novels? Do you have a favorite? Which would you recommend? 

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comments:

Kailana 10:21 AM  

It's so bad... I have been collecting Jean Plaidy's old releases for years and STILL have never read her. I need to buckle down and do so before long.

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

Pageloads Counter

Search Book Blogs Search Engine

The background is based on a background I found here...with some small adjustments on my part so it would work with the template.
Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP